Isolation facility set up in QC Jail following suspected COVID-19 death
This March 21, 2020 photo shows detainees at the Quezon City Jail.
The STAR/Boy Santos
Isolation facility set up in QC Jail following suspected COVID-19 death
Kristine Joy Patag ( - April 9, 2020 - 2:40pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology set up an isolation facility in Quezon City after an inmate died of suspected COVID-19 on March 25.

Early this week, the Quezon City Jail placed some inmates in isolation as precautionary measure after they came in contact with another Person Deprived of Liberty who may have died of the novel coronavirus disease.

"Taking the attending physician’s point of view, citing possible COVID-19 as contributing condition is a piece of information that we cannot take lightly," Chief Inspector Xavier Solda, BJMP spokesperson, said.

Following this, Chief Superintendent Ignacio Panti, BJMP National Capital Region director, convened the Regional Task Force COVID-19 of Metro Manila and conducted contract tracing.

Seventeen PDLs were placed in isolation after contact tracing.

The isolation facility was established with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Philippine Red Cross.

PDLs with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 will be transferred to the isolation facility for monitoring.

Meanwhile, Director Allan Iral said that the bureau will continue implementing other “precautionary measures in jails such as physical distancing, wearing of face mask among personnel and PDL, use of foot bath, thermal scanning and disinfection.”

The bureau is also maximizing electronic visitation or e-Dalaw and conducting daily dialogues with PDLs as measures to help them take care of their mental health following the extension of Luzon-wide lockdown.

Calls for release of qualified prisoners

Calls for release of the elderly, ailing and vulnerable prisoners from several rights groups and Sen. Leila De Lima continue to mount as COVID-19 infections rise.

A group of prisoners on Wednesday knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court and asked for their possible release during state of public health emergency, stressing that the Philippines may record a staggering amount of fatalities of the novel coronavirus infects the inmates.

“Petitioners are praying for a fair chance at surviving the devastating impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in spaces that are not blighted with the overcrowding and lack of access to hygiene measures and medical care,” their plea read.

The group of petitioners are composed of political prisoners and detainees who are elderly sick or pregnant, and are committed to crowded facilities where social distancing is “practically impossible.”

Solda said Wednesday that while they support decongestion of jails through legal measures, studies need to be done first to ensure that propositions are within laws.

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